Being a photographer in Hawaii, I really love travel. It’s a good thing too! Most days I am on the road or on a plane traveling to my next destination, adventuring for those secret spots that are sure to get those “Ohhhs” and “Ahhhs.” It’s in my nature to have a particular type of wonderlust, a soul that keeps searching, a thirst that can’t be quenched; except to the journey of the next unknown breathtakingly dazzling destination. In this post I am sharing my experience with travel insurance. I hope you have more luck than I do and that you never have to use it! If you have any questions please send me a message.
That being said, I always buy travel insurance, especially since I fly to the outer Hawaiian islands to do photoshoots for destination, surprise engagement wedding proposals, or family portrait clients. You might have also purchased travel insurance for your Hawaii Vacation and thought, “It’s all good, I’m covered, I have flight insurance!” *dun Dun DUN!*
On this rare occasion my client called me because his timeline got shifted, no problem, I can make arrangements to my travel to accommodate him. I have insurance so it should be “ok!” I couldn’t have been so wrong.
I clicked the email from the travel insurance company which has all my information and insurance policy number (very important, right?). Then I scoured their page to figure out how I can adjust my flight or figure out a plan of action. I ended up searching and reading the FAQ tab which was mostly blank and then in a type of lawyerly english, “Legalese” that I couldn’t understand. Feeling mostly frustrated and defeated I decided that it was time to throw in the towel. I needed to find their contact information. Luckily, there was a tab with their phone number and a form. I called their number anxiously and listed to the voicemail settings. When it said “Do you wish to change your flight information?” I very eagerly pressed the button and it took me to the airline’s phone number. I talked to the airline itinerary ticketing services customer representative who told me to call the insurance agency again. Now I was even more frustrated, but determined to speak to someone!
I was losing hope. After spending the better part of my afternoon trying to figure out how to change my flight times I was exhausted! I spent some time calling back the travel insurance agency and waiting to speak to a representative. Finally, when I was able to speak to someone he said travel insurance covers:
- Sudden covered medical emergencies
- Financial default of a covered airline, cruise line or tour operator
- Employer termination
- Terrorist incidents
- Jury duty
If I meet any of the above criteria then I would be required to:
- Change my flight reservation from my airlines
- Create a new claim
- Submit supporting documentation proving that my cause was justified
After this lengthy process my claim would be reviewed and awarded or not. Since I don’t think my claim fit any of those I was back to square 1 aka checking the airline’s rules and policies for changing the dates and times on my flight.
What I learned from this experience is that if I’m traveling inter island around Hawaii (and possibly to other destinations), I will no longer be needing travel insurance for photographing destination weddings, surprise engagement proposals, or family portraits. WOW! That was totally a waste of money and a BIG waste of my time. I seriously could have been using this much needed time to be editing more photos, or better yet…napping! Instead I was given the run around by both the insurance company and the airline. Though I can vouch for both customer service representatives in how they were gracious enough to take my call and answer my questions, I can say that this type of insurance policy was not at all necessary to fit my needs and felt like a false sense of hope. It would have been far better for me to get familiar with the airline’s policy so in the event of flight delay or rescheduling I would know who to call and how to readjust my travel plans. I just wish this information was more visible in a type of non-legal jargon that I understood.
In addition, I will be doing more research on different types of travel insurance since its such a controversial topic. Most articles/people say that it greatly depends on the situation and your insurer. So for example: if you had travel insurance, got sick while you were on vacation, and had to pay medical bills out of pocket or missed a flight connection (due to circumstances that were out of your control) it could be covered and maybe all hope isn’t lost.
If you have any questions or would like to share your story with me please send me a message. Mahalo and Safe Travels!